National Health Observances

Lung Cancer Risks

Lung Cancer Risks

What Causes Lung Cancer

Anyone can get lung cancer. Lung cancer occurs when cells in the lung mutate or change. Various factors can cause this mutation to happen. Most often, this change in lung cells happens when people breathe in dangerous, toxic substances. Even if you were exposed to these substances many years ago, you are still at risk for lung cancer. Talk to your doctor if you have been exposed to any of the substances listed below and take steps to reduce your risk and protect your lungs.

Smoking

Smoking is the number one cause of lung cancer. It causes about 90 percent of lung cancer cases. Tobacco smoke contains many chemicals that are known to cause lung cancer. If you still smoke, quitting smoking is the single best thing you can do for your lung health. Learn how to quit smoking.

Smokers are not the only ones affected by cigarette smoke. If you are a former smoker, your risk is decreased, but has not gone away completely—you can still get lung cancer. Nonsmokers also can be affected by smoking. Breathing in secondhand smoke puts you at risk for lung cancer or other illnesses.

Reduce your risk:

·      Don’t start smoking

·      Quit smoking if you smoke

·      Avoid secondhand smoke

 

Radon

Radon exposure is the second-leading cause of lung cancer. Radon is a colorless, odorless radioactive gas that exists naturally in soil. It comes up through the soil and enters buildings through small gaps and cracks. One out of every 15 homes in the U.S. is subject to radon exposure. Exposure to radon combined with cigarette smoking seriously increases your lung cancer risk.

 

Reduce your risk: Test your home for radon. You can do this with inexpensive, easy-to-use test kits sold at hardware stores.

Hazardous Chemicals

Exposure to certain hazardous chemicals poses a lung cancer risk. Working with materials such as asbestos, uranium, arsenic, cadmium, chromium, nickel and some petroleum products is especially dangerous. If you think you may be breathing in hazardous chemicals at your job, talk to your employer and your doctor to find out to protect yourself.

 

Reduce your risk: If you are exposed to dust and fumes at work, ask your health and safety advisor how you are being protected.

 

Particle Pollution

Particle pollution refers to a mix of very tiny solid and liquid particles that are in the air we breathe. Evidence shows that particle pollution—like that coming from that exhaust smoke—increases the risk of lung cancer.

 

Reduce your risk: Help fight pollution. Work with others in your community to clean up the air you and your family breathe.

 

Genes

Genetic factors also may play a role in one’s chances of developing lung cancer. A family history of lung cancer may mean you are at a higher risk of getting the disease. If others in your family have or ever had lung cancer, it’s important to mention this to your doctor.

Source https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/lung-cancer/learn-about-lung-cancer/what-is-lung-cancer/what-causes-lung-cancer.html

 


How to Prevent Diabetes

What is type 2 diabetes?

If you have diabetes, your blood sugar levels are too high. With type 2 diabetes, this happens because your body does not make enough insulin, or it does not use insulin well (this is called insulin resistance). If you are at risk for type 2 diabetes, you might be able to prevent or delay developing it.

 

Who is at risk for type 2 diabetes?

Many Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes. Your chances of getting it depend on a combination of risk factors such as your genes and lifestyle. The risk factors include

·         Having prediabetes, which means you have blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not high enough to be called diabetes

·         Being overweight or having obesity

·         Being age 45 or older

·         A family history of diabetes

·         Being African American, Alaska Native, American Indian, Asian American, Hispanic/Latino, Native Hawaiian, or Pacific Islander

·         Having high blood pressure

·         Having a low level of HDL (good) cholesterol or a high level of triglycerides

·         A history of diabetes in pregnancy

·         Having given birth to a baby weighing 9 pounds or more

·         An inactive lifestyle

·         A history of heart disease or stroke

·         Having depression

·         Having polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)

·         Having acanthosis nigricans, a skin condition in which your skin becomes dark and thick, especially around your neck or armpits

·         Smoking

 

How can I prevent or delay getting type 2 diabetes?

If you are at risk for diabetes, you may be able to prevent or delay getting it. Most of the things that you need to do involve having a healthier lifestyle. So if you make these changes, you will get other health benefits as well. You may lower your risk of other diseases, and you will probably feel better and have more energy. The changes are:

Losing weight and keeping it off. Weight control is an important part of diabetes prevention. You may be able to prevent or delay diabetes by losing 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. For example, if you weigh 200 pounds, your goal would be to lose between 10 to 20 pounds. And once you lose the weight, it is important that you don’t gain it back.

 

Following a healthy eating plan. It is important to reduce the amount of calories you eat and drink each day, so you can lose weight and keep it off. To do that, your diet should include smaller portions and less fat and sugar. You should also eat a variety of foods from each food group, including plenty of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It’s also a good idea to limit red meat and avoid processed meats.

 

Get regular exercise. Exercise has many health benefits, including helping you to lose weight and lower your blood sugar levels. These both lower your risk of type 2 diabetes. Try to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 days a week. If you have not been active, talk with your health care professional to figure out which types of exercise are best for you. You can start slowly and work up to your goal.

 

Don’t smoke. Smoking can contribute to insulin resistance, which can lead to type 2 diabetes. If you already smoke, try to quit.

 

Talk to your health care provider to see whether there is anything else you can do to delay or to prevent type 2 diabetes. If you are at high risk, your provider may suggest that you take one of a few types of diabetes medicines.

Source https://medlineplus.gov/howtopreventdiabetes.html

 


Stomach Cancer Risks & Prevention

Some of the factors that may increase the risk for development of gastric cancer include age, gender, ethnicity, smoking, family history, diet, and h. Pylori.

  1. pylori is a common, treatable infection which leads to stomach inflammation and may increase the risk of developing gastric cancer.

In the United States, gastric cancer is more common in American Indians, Alaska Natives, Asians, Hispanic Americans, and African Americans than in Non-Hispanic Whites.

Risks of Stomach Cancer

Some risks cannot be controlled, but others can be REDUCED by focusing on one’s health and choices. Review these lists and see what your risks and options might be:

Behavioral/Lifestyle Risks

  • Tobacco use
  • Obesity
  • Diets rich in smoked, salted and pickled foods
  • Diets low in fresh fruits and vegetables
  • Environmental exposure to dust and fumes

Risks for Personal Awareness

  • Age 50 and over
  • Male gender
  • Having blood type A
  • Long-term inflammation of the stomach
  • Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) bacterial infection
  • Megaloblastic (pernicious) anemia
  • History of stomach polyps or stomach lymphoma
  • Race (more common in Asians, Pacific Islanders, Hispanics, and African Americans than in non-Hispanic Caucasian Americans)

Genetic Risks for Stomach Cancer

Preventing Stomach Cancer

  • Early detection is the key to surviving stomach cancer.
  • Lifestyle changes, such as smoking cessation and eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, can potentially reduce the risk of stomach cancer.
  • Treatment of H. pylori infection (a common bacterial infection of the stomach) can decrease the risk of stomach cancer development.
  • Knowing your family history and discussing it with your healthcare provider can help determine if you are at risk for inherited cancer syndromes.

 

Source https://www.nostomachforcancer.org/about/risk-prevention

 


Tips to Keep Healthy Lungs

Sometimes we take our lungs for granted. They keep us alive and well and for the most part, we don’t need to think about them. That’s why it is important to prioritize your lung health.

Your body has a natural defense system designed to protect the lungs, keeping dirt and germs at bay. But there are some important things you can do to reduce your risk of lung disease. Here are some ways to keep your lungs healthy.

Don’t Smoke

Cigarette smoking is the major cause of lung cancer and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema. Cigarette smoke can narrow the air passages and make breathing more difficult. It causes chronic inflammation, or swelling in the lung, which can lead to chronic bronchitis. Over time cigarette smoke destroys lung tissue and may trigger changes that grow into cancer. If you smoke, it’s never too late to benefit from quitting. The American Lung Association can help whenever you are ready.

Avoid Exposure to Indoor Pollutants That Can Damage Your Lungs

Secondhand smoke, chemicals in the home and workplace, and radon all can cause or worsen lung disease. Make your home and car smokefree. Test your home for radon. Avoid exercising outdoors on bad air days. And talk to your healthcare provider if you are worried that something in your home, school or work may be making you sick.

 

Minimize Exposure to Outdoor Air Pollution

The air quality outside can vary from day to day and sometimes is unhealthy to breathe. Knowing how outdoor air pollution affects your health and useful strategies to minimize prolonged exposure can help keep you and your family well. Climate change and natural disasters can also directly impact lung health.

 

Prevent Infection

A cold or other respiratory infection can sometimes become very serious. There are several things you can do to protect yourself:

·     Wash your hands often with soap and water. Alcohol-based cleaners are a good substitute if you cannot wash.

·     Avoids crowds during the cold and flu season.

·     Good oral hygiene can protect you from the germs in your mouth leading to infections. Brush your teeth at least twice daily and see your dentist at least every six months.

·     Get vaccinated every year against influenza. Talk to your healthcare provider to find out if the pneumonia vaccine is right for you.

·     If you get sick, keep it to yourself! Protect the people around you, including your loved ones, by keeping your distance. Stay home from work or school until you’re feeling better.

Get Regular Healthcare

Regular check-ups help prevent diseases, even when you are feeling well. This is especially true for lung disease, which sometimes goes undetected until it is serious. During a check-up, your healthcare provider will listen to your breathing and listen to your concerns. If you need health insurance, learn more about your options.

 

Exercise

Whether you are young or old, slender or large, able-bodied or living with a chronic illness or disability, being physically active can help keep your lungs healthy. Learn more about how exercise can strengthen your lungs.

 

Source https://www.lung.org/lung-health-and-diseases/protecting-your-lungs/

 


13 Tips to Keep Your Bladder Healthy

People rarely talk about bladder health, but everyone is affected by it. Each day, adults pass about a quart and a half of urine through the bladder and out of the body.

As people get older, the bladder changes. Visit Bladder Health for Older Adults for more information on how the bladder changes and common medical problems, including bladder infections, urinary incontinence, and urinary tract infections.

While you can’t control everything that affects bladder health, there are some steps you can take to improve bladder health. Follow these 13 tips to keep your bladder healthy.

  1. Drink enough fluids, especially water. Most healthy people should try to drink six to eight, 8-ounce glasses of fluid each day. Water is the best fluid for bladder health. At least half of fluid intake should be water. Some people need to drink less water because of certain conditions, such as kidney failure or heart diseaseAsk your healthcare provider how much fluid is healthy for you.
  2. Limit alcohol and caffeine. Cutting down on alcohol and caffeinated foods and drinks—such as coffee, tea, chocolate, and most sodas—may help.
  3. Quit smoking. If you smoke, take steps to quit . If you don’t smoke, don’t start.
  4. Avoid constipation. Eating plenty of high-fiber foods (like whole grains, vegetables, and fruits), drinking enough water, and being physically active can help prevent constipation.
  5. Keep a healthy weight. Making healthy food choices and being physically active can help you keep a healthy weight.
  6. Exercise regularly. Physical activity can help prevent bladder problems, as well as constipation. It can also help you keep a healthy weight.
  7. Do pelvic floor muscle exercises. Pelvic floor exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, help hold urine in the bladder. Daily exercises can strengthen these muscles, which can help keep urine from leaking when you sneeze, cough, lift, laugh, or have a sudden urge to urinate.
  8. Use the bathroom often and when needed. Try to urinate at least every 3 to 4 hours. Holding urine in your bladder for too long can weaken your bladder muscles and make a bladder infection more likely.
  9. Take enough time to fully empty the bladder when urinating. Rushing when you urinate may not allow you to fully empty the bladder. If urine stays in the bladder too long, it can make a bladder infection more likely.
  10. Be in a relaxed position while urinating. Relaxing the muscles around the bladder will make it easier to empty the bladder. For women, hovering over the toilet seat may make it hard to relax, so it is best to sit on the toilet seat.
  11. Wipe from front to back after using the toilet. Women should wipe from front to back to keep bacteria from getting into the urethra. This step is most important after a bowel movement.
  12. Urinate after sex. Both women and men should urinate shortly after sex to flush away bacteria that may have entered the urethra during sex.
  13. Wear cotton underwear and loose-fitting clothes. Wearing loose, cotton clothing will allow air to keep the area around the urethra dry. Tight-fitting jeans and nylon underwear can trap moisture and help bacteria grow.

Source https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/13-tips-keep-your-bladder-healthy

 


Bladder Cancer Symptoms

How do you know that you may have bladder cancer? Some people may have symptoms that suggest they have bladder cancer. Others may feel nothing at all. Some symptoms should never be ignored. You may need to talk to a urologist about your symptoms. A urologist is a doctor who focuses on problems of the urinary system and male reproductive system. Talk to one about:

  • Hematuria (blood in the urine) – the most common symptom, often without pain
  • Frequent and urgent urination
  • Pain when you pass urine
  • Pain in your lower abdomen
  • Back pain

Symptoms You Should Not Ignore

Blood in the urine is the most common symptom of bladder cancer. It is generally painless. Often, you cannot see blood in your urine without a microscope. If you can see blood with your naked eye you should tell your healthcare provider immediately. Even if the blood goes away, you should still talk to your doctor about it.

Blood in the urine does not always mean that you have bladder cancer. There are a number of reasons why you may have blood in your urine. You may have an infection or kidney stones. But a very small amount of blood might be normal in some people.

Frequent urination and pain when you pass urine (dysuria) are less common symptoms of bladder cancer. If you have these symptoms, it’s important to see your healthcare provider. He/she will find out if you have a urinary tract infection or something more serious, like bladder cancer.

Source https://www.urologyhealth.org/urologic-conditions/non-muscle-invasive-bladder-cancer#Symptoms


Understanding Prediabetes

When it comes to prediabetes, there are no clear symptoms—so you may have it and not know it. Here’s why that’s important: before people develop type 2 diabetes, they almost always have prediabetes—blood sugar levels that are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes. You may have some of the symptoms of diabetes or even some of the complications.

Regardless, check with your doctor and get tested. If you discover that you do have prediabetes, remember that it doesn’t mean you’ll develop type 2, particularly if you follow a treatment plan and a diet and exercise routine. Even small changes can have a huge impact on managing this disease or preventing it all together—so get to a doctor today and get tested.

There are many factors you can control. Prediabetes is a condition that can lead to type 2 diabetes and even heart disease. Your chances of having prediabetes go up if you:

  • Are 45 or older
  • Are Black, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian, Asian American, or Pacific Islander
  • Have a parent, brother or sister with diabetes
  • Are overweight
  • Are physically inactive
  • Have high blood pressure or take medicine for high blood pressure
  • Have low HDL cholesterol and/or high triglycerides
  • Had diabetes during pregnancy
  • Have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Source https://www.diabetes.org/diabetes


Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease

What Are the Signs of Alzheimer’s Disease?

Scientists continue to unravel the complex brain changes involved in the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease. It seems likely that damage to the brain starts a decade or more before memory and other cognitive problems appear. During this preclinical stage of Alzheimer’s disease, people seem to be symptom-free, but toxic changes are taking place in the brain.

Damage occurring in the brain of someone with Alzheimer’s disease begins to show itself in very early clinical signs and symptoms. For most people with Alzheimer’s—those who have the late-onset variety—symptoms first appear in their mid-60s. Signs of early-onset Alzheimer’s begin between a person’s 30s and mid-60s.

The first symptoms of Alzheimer’s vary from person to person. Memory problems are typically one of the first signs of cognitive impairment related to Alzheimer’s disease. Decline in non-memory aspects of cognition, such as word-finding, vision/spatial issues, and impaired reasoning or judgment, may also signal the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. And some people may be diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment. As the disease progresses, people experience greater memory loss and other cognitive difficulties.

Alzheimer’s disease progresses in several stages: preclinical, mild (sometimes called early-stage), moderate, and severe (sometimes called late-stage).

 

Signs of Mild Alzheimer’s Disease

In mild Alzheimer’s disease, a person may seem to be healthy but has more and more trouble making sense of the world around him or her. The realization that something is wrong often comes gradually to the person and his or her family. Problems can include:

 

Alzheimer’s disease is often diagnosed at this stage.

 

Signs of Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease

In this stage, more intensive supervision and care become necessary, which can be difficult for many spouses and families. Symptoms may include:

  • Increased memory loss and confusion
  • Inability to learn new things
  • Difficulty with languageand problems with reading, writing, and working with numbers
  • Difficulty organizing thoughts and thinking logically
  • Shortened attention span
  • Problems coping with new situations
  • Difficulty carrying out multistep tasks, such as getting dressed
  • Problems recognizing family and friends
  • Hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia
  • Impulsive behavior such as undressing at inappropriate times or places or using vulgar language
  • Inappropriate outbursts of anger
  • Restlessness, agitation, anxiety, tearfulness, wandering—especially in the late afternoon or evening
  • Repetitive statements or movement, occasional muscle twitches

 

Signs of Severe Alzheimer’s Disease

People with severe Alzheimer’s cannot communicate and are completely dependent on others for their care. Near the end, the person may be in bed most or all of the time as the body shuts down. Their symptoms often include:

  • Inability to communicate
  • Weight loss
  • Seizures
  • Skin infections
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Groaning, moaning, or grunting
  • Increased sleeping
  • Loss of bowel and bladder control

 

A common cause of death for people with Alzheimer’s disease is aspiration pneumonia. This type of pneumonia develops when a person cannot swallow properly and takes food or liquids into the lungs instead of air.

 

There is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, though there are medicines that can treat the symptoms of the disease.

 

Symptoms of Mild Cognitive Impairment

Some people have a condition called mild cognitive impairment, or MCI. It can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s. But, not everyone with MCI will develop Alzheimer’s disease. People with MCI can still take care of themselves and do their normal activities. MCI memory problems may include:

  • Losing things often
  • Forgetting to go to events or appointments
  • Having more trouble coming up with words than other people the same age

 

Source https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-are-signs-alzheimers-disease

 


Identifying Whole Grain Products

The Whole Grains Council has created an official packaging symbol called the Whole Grain Stamp that helps consumers find real whole grain products. The Stamp started to appear on store shelves in mid-2005 and is becoming more widespread every day.

THE WHOLE GRAIN STAMP MAKES IT EASY

With the Whole Grain Stamp, finding three servings of whole grains is easy: Pick three foods with the 100% Stamp or six foods with ANY Whole Grain Stamp.

The 100% Stamp assures you that a food contains a full serving or more of whole grain in each labeled serving and that ALL the grain is whole grain, while the 50%+ Stamp and the Basic Stamp appear on products containing at least half a serving of whole grain per labeled serving.

BUT WHAT IF THERE IS NO STAMP?

Until the Whole Grain Stamp is on all foods, how can consumers know if a product is whole grain?

First, check the package label. Many whole grain products not yet using the Stamp will list the grams of whole grain somewhere on the package, or say something like “100% whole wheat.” You can trust these statements. But be skeptical if you see the words “whole grain” without more details, such as “crackers made with whole grain.” The product may contain only miniscule amounts of whole grains.

Words you may see on packages

·         whole grain [name of grain]

·         whole wheat

·         whole [other grain]

·         stoneground whole [grain]

·         brown rice

·         oats, oatmeal (including old-fashioned oatmeal, instant oatmeal)

·         wheatberries

 

What they mean

YES — Contains all parts of the grain, so you’re getting all the nutrients of the whole grain.

 

Words you may see on packages

·         wheat

·         semolina

·         durum wheat

·         organic flour

·         stoneground

·         multigrain (may describe several whole grains or several refined grains, or a mix of both)

 

What they mean

MAYBE — These words are accurate descriptions of the package contents, but because some parts of the grain MAY be missing, you are likely missing the benefits of whole grains. When in doubt, don’t trust these words!

 

Words you may see on packages

·         enriched flour

·         wheat flour

·         degerminated (on corn meal)

·         bran

·         wheat germ

 

What they mean

NO — These words never describe whole grains.

Note that words like “wheat,” “durum,” and “multigrain” can (and do) appear on good whole grain foods, too. None of these words alone guarantees whether a product is whole grain or refined grain, so look for the word “whole” and follow the other advice here.

CHECK THE LIST OF INGREDIENTS

If the first ingredient listed contains the word “whole” (such as “whole wheat flour” or “whole oats”), it is likely – but not guaranteed – that the product is predominantly whole grain. If there are two grain ingredients and only the second ingredient listed is a whole grain, the product may contain as little as 1% or as much as 49% whole grain (in other words, it could contain a little bit of whole grain, or nearly half).

MULTIPLE GRAINS GET EVEN TRICKIER

If there are several grain ingredients, the situation gets more complex. For instance, let’s say a “multi-grain bread” is 30% refined flour and 70% whole grain. But the whole grains are split between several different grains, and each whole grain comprises less than 30% of the total.

The ingredients might read “Enriched white flour, whole wheat, whole oat flour, whole cornmeal and whole millet” and you would NOT be able to tell from the label whether the whole grains make up 70% of the product or 7% of the product. That’s why we created the Whole Grain Stamp program.

FIBER IS NOT RELIABLE

Fiber varies from grain to grain, ranging from 3.5% in rice to over 15% in barley and bulgur. What’s more, high-fiber products sometimes contain bran or other added fiber without actually having much if any whole grain.

Both fiber and whole grains have been shown to have health benefits. But they’re not interchangeable. So checking the fiber on a label is not a very reliable way to guess whether a product is truly whole grain.

Source https://wholegrainscouncil.org/whole-grains-101/identifying-whole-grain-products

 


Dementia: The facts

·         Dementia is a term used to describe different brain disorders that affect memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion.

·         Early symptoms of dementia can include memory loss, difficultly performing familiar tasks, problems with language and changes in personality. View the early symptoms.

·         There is currently no cure for dementia, but a range of support is available for people with dementia and their carers.

·         Dementia knows no social, economic, or ethnic boundaries.

·         Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia. Other causes include vascular disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and fronto-temporal dementia.

·         There are currently estimated to be over 46 million people worldwide living with dementia. The number of people affected is set to rise to over 131 million by 2050.

·         There is one new case of dementia worldwide every three seconds.

·         The worldwide costs of dementia are estimated at US$818 billion. As a result, if dementia care were a country, it would be the world’s 18th largest economy. If it were a company, it would be the world’s largest by annual revenue exceeding Apple (US $742 billion) and Google (US $368 billion).

Dementia is often hidden away, not spoken about, or ignored at a time when the person living with dementia and their family carers are most in need of support within their families, friendship groups and communities.

The social stigma is the consequence of a lack of knowledge about dementia and it can have numerous long- and short-term effects, including:

·         Dehumanization of the person with dementia

·         Strain within families and friendships

·         A lack of sufficient care for people with dementia and their carers

·         A lower rate of diagnosis of dementia

·         Delayed diagnosis and support

The stigmatization of dementia is a global problem and it is clear that the less we talk about dementia, the more the stigma will grow. During World Alzheimer’s Month we encourage you to find out more and play your part in reducing the stigma and improving the lives of people with dementia and their carers in your community.

 

Source https://www.alz.co.uk/world-alzheimers-month/dementia-facts